KANAWHA | Kanawha native Cody Purvis always dreamed of owning a business in her hometown.
And now, three years after starting a grooming business in her home, she’s made that dream a reality.
“I didn’t think it was something even feasible in Kanawha, but here I am living the dream,” she said.
On Nov. 13, Purvis, 30, opened Pampered Pets Retreat & Spa, an animal grooming and boarding business, at 112 N. Main St. in Kanawha — more than a year after purchasing the lot.
Purvis’ desire to work with animals started when she was a child. As a high school senior, she interned at the Britt Veterinary Clinic, where she gained experience with animals and her desire to work with them deepened.
“I had wanted to go be something with animals I just didn’t know what yet,” she said.
After graduating from West Hancock High School in 2006, Purvis attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where she graduated with degrees in veterinary assisting and pet grooming, before working at a doggie daycare in Coralville.
In 2014, her husband, Jeremy, who was her “high school sweetheart,” got an engineering job in Fort Dodge, so the couple decided to move back to Kanawha.
Purvis began working at Clarion Clinic while grooming dogs evenings and weekends because she “didn’t think it was going to go anywhere,” but after retaining steady grooming business, she cut back her hours at the clinic.
“It got so busy that I had to quit my job (at the clinic),” she said.
In June 2015, Purvis became a full-time professional groomer, and nearly a year later, she purchased the vacant lot on North Main Street in Kanawha to build what would become the newest building within the city.
Her decision to purchase the lot came after her workload grew to about 250 dogs a month, and she hired her sisters, Dusty Kraft and Jessie Kraft, to accommodate more business.
“My home wasn’t feeling like my home anymore,” said Purvis, who has 7- and 1-year-old sons. “My front door was my business door ... so my baby was crawling all over that floor that 250 dogs had been walking on or peed on. I knew I needed to get out of my house.”
With assistance from a professor at North Iowa Area Community College, or NIACC, Purvis decided to expand her business by offering animal boarding, which is something she couldn’t do as a residential-based business.
“I have 500 households and 700 dog and cat clients, so we knew that I could tap into that market,” she said.
Purvis gained knowledge of animal boarding through kennel management classes in college and working at the doggie daycare.
Her business features a bathing and laundry room, grooming room, food preparation room and a utility room in the front half of the building and the back half of the building is reserved for boarding animals in “a commingled environment” and a large fenced in yard.
“Not all dogs like grooming, but most dogs like boarding because they get to play,” Purvis said. “I get to see a different side of the dog that I normally wouldn’t see while I’m grooming. I find out why the owners love their dogs.”
The boarding area contains 10 large kennels and 14 small kennels for dogs, and while she’s ordered a cat condo to board felines, it hadn’t arrived by Thursday, Dec. 7.
To board animals at Pampered Pets, Purvis said the animals must be up to do on vaccinations, spayed or neutered if 6 months or older and complete the intake process to ensure they are “right for my environment.”
Since opening her business on Main Street, Purvis said she’s already boarded 20 dogs.
On the grooming side, which she reserves for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays due to weekend boarding, she averages about 15 to 20 animals a day. On one day, she groomed 22 dogs.
“My favorite is seeing the before and after,” she said. “Seeing the owner’s face is the best.”
Purvis said much of her business is drawn from the communities of Algona, Belmond, Britt, Clarion, Clear Lake, Eagle Grove, Forest City, Goldfield and Kanawha, but she also has past clients driving from the Des Moines area to have their pets groomed.
“I like it because I bring so much business to my hometown,” she said. “I never considered going anywhere else. I wanted to leave my business in Kanwaha.”
On Saturday, Dec. 9, Pampered Pets Retreat & Spa hosted a grand opening, where it was open for tours, refreshments and prizes.
Purvis said in the future she’d like to have a veterinary clinic within her building. She purchased the building north of her current location when it became available.
Next year, she plans on tearing down the building and making into a dog yard for her business, and if she needs to expand in the future, she has the room.
Since opening her business in November, Purvis is working seven days a week, but she hopes she can grow her business enough to offer jobs to area students. She currently has a high school and middle school student working with her and her sisters.
“It’s nice because you know how with some jobs work is work, I don’t feel like that at all,” she said. “I enjoy what I do.”